Malaysian assembly celebrates 100 years of God’s faithfulness (1911-2011)
The Klang Gospel Hall is situated in the town of Klang, five miles east of Port Klang, in the state of Selangor in Malaysia. Port Klang was formerly known as Port Swettenham named after Sir Frank Swettenham, the first British Resident-General of the Federated States of Malaya. Malaysia was then called Malaya. Malaya was divided into three administrative territories, British Straits Settlements of Penang, Malacca, and Singapore, the Federated States of Selangor, Perak, Negeri Sembilan and Pahang, and finally the unfederated States of Kedah, Perlis, Trenggannu, Kelantan and Johore. Britain held sway in all these territories until it gave full independence to the country on August 31st 1957. Unlike other foreign colonial powers in Asia and Africa the British left a very positive mark in the later development of the country.
The assembly in Klang began after Mr. Chew Boon Hean, who was in prison for opium abuse, was led to the Lord by Mr. T. R. Angus. On his return to Klang, Mr. Chew brought his whole family to the Lord and then started a small meeting in a shop in 1911. In 1912 Mr. Chew, with the help of other believers and by God’s grace, built a meeting place and thus the assembly now meeting in Klang Gospel Hall began. Two assemblies were formed for both the Chinese-speaking and English-speaking believers.
The two World Wars of 1914-1918 and 1939-1945 disrupted the work of the Lord somewhat, but the believers remained faithful, and continued to worship and preach the gospel. We thank the Lord that missionaries from Britain and Australia faithfully and fearlessly stayed in the country and helped in the work in the Klang assembly. Klang Gospel Hall is deeply indebted to missionaries such as Mr. and Mrs T. R. Angus, their son David Angus and his wife, Mr. and Mrs E. V. Brewerton, Mr. S. S. Adams, Mr. Bill Wilson, Mr. A. E. Phillips, Mr. and Mrs. Bill Stott, and many others.
On the local front, Mr. Ma Tham Shun, Mr. Chew Tian Fong, Mr. Chew Shiu Swee, Dr. G. D. James and Mr. Lim Chin Kheng were the pioneers of the assembly. Others who came to know the Lord and played a pivotal role in the development of the assembly during those difficult years were Mr. Ng Eng Yen and his son Mr. Ng Kong Lam.
After the Second World War, Mr. Ng Kong Lam, Mr. Goh Keng Siew, Mr. and Mrs Chellappah Abishegam and many other faithful brethren worked diligently to spread the gospel in Klang and the surrounding areas. Open-air meetings were held and a children’s work began in Port Klang and a distant village named Jenjarom. In the early fifties, an assembly was established in Jenjarom. Miss Daphne King and Mr. and Mrs. Tom Watt with the help of the brethren from Klang built the church there. A new building was erected, and Chinese and Tamil work began to grow by the grace of God. A beautiful new building was built for the Jenjarom assembly in 2011 and will be occupied soon, God willing.
The work in Port Klang also progressed well and a shop-lot was used to conduct meetings in 1973. The elders at Klang Gospel Hall felt it necessary to build a new hall on a piece of land already designated for worship. In 1979 a new building was constructed and subsequently renovated and enlarged in 2004. The building can now seat 300 people.
The work in Klang Gospel Hall grew in leaps and bounds. The young people of the late forties and early fifties had now become responsible young adults and began to take on greater responsibility. With the able direction of Mr. Ng Kong Lam, Mr. Tom Watt, Mr. Chellappah Abishegam and later Dr. Alastair McGregor, the church grew into a vibrant community.
In the late seventies, the Greater Klang Evangelistic Crusade was launched. The English assembly was divided into three home fellowships with the aim of setting up three new assemblies. As a result a new assembly, Klang Jaya Gospel Hall, now known as Bethany Chapel was set up and given autonomy in January 2009. Later in 2009 another was established and known as Setia Alam Gospel Assembly in Setia Alam, a new township about six miles away from Klang Gospel Hall.
The Chinese work also progressed after the establishment of Jenjarom Gospel Hall. Believers who spoke Chinese also established a Chinese testimony in Port Klang Gospel Hall. The Chinese work is growing although there is a decrease in the number of children in the Sunday School in Klang. The Sunday School and the Youth Work in Jenjarom Gospel Hall is very encouraging. The brethren from the Chinese assembly have worked hard to spread the gospel among the Chinese-speaking community and have worked tirelessly to oversee the work in the three Chinese assemblies.
We also began a Tamil ministry in 2002 and soon a Tamil assembly was established in Klang Gospel Hall. The work has now been transferred to the Bethany Chapel with the support of the other assemblies.
We thank the Lord for His faithfulness and protection. By His grace and mercy He has seen us through difficult times. The work has been very encouraging and we trust in the Lord to direct us into more avenues of service. We now have five commended workers serving the Lord in our assemblies.
In all we have, only by God’s grace and to His glory, established four English-speaking assemblies, three Chinese-speaking assemblies and one Tamil assembly in the last century. And thus when we celebrated our Centenary with a Thanksgiving Service on the 16th of September 2011, we rejoiced at the greatness and goodness of God. We prayed that if the Lord does not return soon, we will move with greater courage and resilience into the next century.